The Roman community Around Wanborough in Wiltshire 55 BC to AD 410

Authors: Andrew Hutt, Berkshire Archaeological Society

Date of publication: 12th January 2021

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A summary of the contents

This paper is one of several papers produced by the Society’s Berkshire Romans Project 2. It describes the development of Roman Wanborough and the surrounding landscape as the area evolved from the Late Iron Age, and through the Late Iron Age/Early Roman, Early Roman and Late Roman periods.

This shows that in the Late Iron Age, before AD 43, the area was occupied by a few farms with the people living in the valleys practicing a transhumance existence keeping their animals in the valleys over winter and moving them to the Downs in summer.   In the Late Iron Age /Early Roman period, from AD 43 to 75, the Roman town of Wanborough was established possibly as a vicus to a fort at St Margarets which has yet to be found.  At this time, field systems and settlements were established on the Downs.  The shape of the fields suggests they were used for a combination of arable and pastoral farming.  

The evidence shows that this pattern of existence continued through Early and Late Roman periods (AD 75 to 260 and AD 260 to 410).  The Roman small town at Wanborough grew to have a significant urban population while on the Berkshire Downs, the field systems were extended to cover large areas of downland.

Locations named in the report

Wanborough (Wilts), Berkshire Downs, Marlborough Downs, Alfred’s Castle, Maddle Farm, 

Map of all Roman sites in the Wanborough (Wilts) community

Search terms (key words)

see list of key sites above

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